Brendon Gallagher is My Alderman

The 4th Ward has gone for so long without honest, effective representation that it took me awhile to recognize — trust? — the change; but it’s becoming apparent now we have a winner in Brendon Gallagher. He does his homework, is loyal to his Ward, obviously learns something every meeting, and shows little sign of getting sucked into the ethically-challenged culture at city hall. Last night Gallagher showed true leadership in the discussion and vote on the question of rescinding the Target tax abatement agreement. He deserves our support. He has mine. Two thumbs up.

Highlights and lowlights after the jump.

Council meeting highlights:

–Mac McIntyre, who always represents us regular joes well, hit it out of the park last night. (Thanks Mac.) Link here. (Thanks Mark.)

–The rally and march drew about a dozen people to the corner of First and Lincoln, and a few more joined us outside the Muni Building and in the meetings. You may think 16 people don’t sound like much of a crowd, but remember: for a long time, McIntyre was the Lone Ranger. The group willing to come out for their principles is growing. I was delighted to meet a couple more bloggers in person, and to receive quiet support from an unexpected source. The Northern Star did a good job covering it, too. WREX-TV was out and recorded most of the meetings but I don’t know if they broadcast anything because Council didn’t adjourn until about 10:20 or so.

Gallagher on Target

Council Meeting Lowlights:

–Alderman Simpson calling DeKalb “the promised land of good government.” Can there BE anyone more out of touch?

–Alderman Simpson failing to give a ward report during ward reports, instead choosing once again to lecture the citizen commenters on their comments at a time they have no opportunity to respond. This strikes me as inappropriate, somewhat cowardly and definitely blow-hardy.

–Alderman Simpson telling me I had no right to “question the veracity” of a former city employee because he’s no longer a part of city government. First of all, I didn’t question anybody’s veracity. I called out Paul Rasmussen because he did not disclose his interests in the downtown revitalization. He used to be Econ Dev Director and the downtown plan is at least partly his baby. He is also a member of the blogger-quashing Community Enhancement Commission, which, last I checked, is part of city government.

Mr. Simpson can bite me.

–Alderman Naylor saying that “it’s legal” for him to talk about pensions and post-employment health care even though he is a former employee and benefits from these things. Um, no, it isn’t. From Chapter 2.12 of the DeKalb Municipal Code (p. 2-6):

If a member has a direct financial interest, or is interested in a matter before the Council, the member shall not speak or address the Council or any other City body on that matter. He shall advise the Council that he has a direct financial interest in the matter prior to any other Council discussion or action on the matter.

I can understand an alderman not knowing about the “water only” rule at meetings, but not this. This is important. These failures reflect badly on Naylor and on the city’s legal counsel.

–The overall level of disrespect of the pro-revitalization crowd toward the people paying for revitalization was stunning. Most of the speakers pretended that only the downtown merchants are stakeholders, as if the rest of us don’t even exist. A couple of them were derisive. My personal fave was, “The public has no vision.”

7 thoughts on “Brendon Gallagher is My Alderman”

  1. Alderman Gallagher did wrong last night. He should never have put a staff member on the line like he did with the question about the number of entrance signs.

    Questioning Mr. Espiritu about an incorrect number when in fact Mr. Espiritu was correct. There are 6 entrances to DeKalb (at least there are 6 signs). Some of these questions could have been handled by reading his back up earlier and contacting staff before the meeting to clarify.

    Also, Target did not ask the City of DeKalb to waive the penalty. I personally think it shows good faith on our part and the willing to deal with our corporate friends. This little action on the part of the City of DeKalb could mean much much more in ways of good press for future businesses looking for a great community to settle in. A few dollars today in understanding could come back ten fold in the near future. I think the offer of 13% that Mayor Povlsen proposed would do more for landing future companies then anything else we could do in fact later in the same meeting, the council voted on 1st reading an IGA that would do exactly what Mayor Povlsen proposed for Target now. Let’s spend a little time thinking about the major issues.

  2. I know what you mean about the sign thing. Instead of looking like he was trying to trip somebody up, he might have asked for them to refresh his memory on the other two sign locations.

    But I heartily disagree with you on the Target issue, at least procedurally. It got really messy there for awhile. It’s a lot cleaner to vote aye or nay and then, when/if the new IGA passes, put it on the agenda to vote on whether Council wants to offer the new terms to Target.

  3. Lynn, before you suggest Alderman Simpson “bite you”, you might want to get some rabies shots!

    (AND DON’T ANYONE DARE SUGGEST THAT I AM MAKING THAT COMMENT OUT OF RACE!).

    The issue is Simpson’s ongoing pattern of retaliatory comments against “the blogging community” during THE FIRST WARD ANNOUNCEMENTS section of the meeting. Engage with substance, Alderman Simpson!

    What good is it if the citizenry comes up with first rate suggestions if the council quickly moves on to their own pet projects?

  4. Almost forgot, using his bully pulpit to bash a well-intentioned student in his own department ought to raise scrutiny from the university. Simpson’s derogatory remarks regarding Mr. Duerk were sickening from many perspectives. It’s reprehensible for a political science teacher to undertake such a rhetorical attack against such well-reasoned AND highly appropriate student comments, even if Simpson disagreed.

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